ANC Committee Offers First Impressions of Whitman-Walker Redevelopment

by Nena Perry-Brown

ANC Committee Offers First Impressions of Whitman-Walker Redevelopment: Figure 1
The Whitman-Walker site at 14th and R Street NW.

On Wednesday evening, representatives from the team redeveloping the Whitman-Walker Clinic and Belmont Garage at 14th and R Streets NW came before a meeting of the ANC 2F Community Development Committee to seek their support for the concept, massing and design of their historic preservation aspects of the new development.

As UrbanTurf has been reporting, Whitman-Walker will anchor the new development, with space on the ground floor and offices occupying the entire second floor. The third floor will also be office space, while the remaining four floors will be 80-90 apartments, including some affordable housing. The project is a collaboration between Whitman-Walker and Fivesquares Development; the architect is renowned preservationist Annabelle Selldorf.

The developers have been reaching out to the community, the ANC and the Historic Preservation Office in recent months to discuss the potential design, and have received positive feedback from most of the interested parties they spoke with.

The development team and ANC committee members engaged in a spirited (albeit respectful) back-and-forth, and the committee ultimately voted to recommend that the ANC send a letter to the Historic Preservation Review Board that expressed their support as well as a few concerns. The motion endorses the historic preservation considerations upon which the design is based and offers a general approval of the concept, design and massing, with the following reservations:

ANC Committee Offers First Impressions of Whitman-Walker Redevelopment: Figure 2
A rendering of the Whitman-Walker redevelopment. Click to enlarge.

First, the committee felt that the design appeared too monolithic and should be changed so that the massing is more varied. The redesigned 1701 and 1711 14th Street NW (map) were meant to directly reference the original buildings, recreated using old blueprints and photos. Although the site is comprised of three existing buildings, it is being redeveloped as one building with varying setbacks — creating the impression of, as committee-member Joel Heisey referred to it, “eleven facades on the same block [that look] exactly the same”. Fivesquares development co-founder Ron Kaplan passionately defended the design, pointing out that the setback will prevent pedestrians from seeing most of the structure.

Second, the committee would like to see more subtle colors used for the building. The primary materials of the building will be terra cotta and limestone, with the terra cotta being glazed and painted several colors which will give each facade a different appearance. Although they generally appreciated the chosen materials and the idea of a more colorful building, the committee would prefer to see a softer palette than the bold yellow, green and blue samples that were presented.

Lastly, the committee would like to see the design of the ground floor of the Belmont Garage building reconsidered, although they omitted any particular recommendations from their motion.

The development team will submit their plans to the Historic Preservation Office this week, and plan to be on the HPRB agenda in late May or early June.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/anc_committee_offers_first_impressions_of_whitman-walker_clinic_design/11164

1 Comment

  1. Nathaniel Martin said at 7:56 pm on Thursday April 28, 2016:
    Sigh. The little bits of bright color were just about the only interesting thing in this design. We need a BOLDER solution, not a blander one.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »